Artists and historians will be exploring the Tame and the area around, and the individual journeys through Witton and Perry Barr of residents past and present. There will be lots going on, including events, workshops, printed work and exhibitions for the whole community to get involved in.

Monday, 29 April 2013

Holford Mills

1921 map of Witton area, with the Tame running through on the left.

Holford Mill was first mentioned in 1358, when it was used as a fulling mill in the cleaning of wool for the making of woolen fabrics (find out more about fulling on Wikipedia). So the area must have had a good deal of sheep farming. It was at this time that the River Tame was sluiced (gated to redirect the flow of water) and a millrace (channel of water away from the river) created to lead to the mill. The millrace can be seen in the 1921 map, above, but has disappeared today. By 1591 the mill had turned to the metal industries as hammers were being made, and it was also used for iron making. From the 1650s it was used for making blades and edge-tools, and the water would have powered the grinders for sharpening the tools. Over the next couple of hundred years it passed through many hands, and the mill became a prominent metal manufacturing site in the area.

In 1910 the mills were acquired by Kynoch Ltd, later to become ICI and IMI and was used in the metal and ammunition industries. The mills presence is remembered in the naming of Holford Drive and Holford Way in the Brookvale Trading Estate and Holford Industrial Park.

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